The Top Ten: Obscure sorrows

From anticipointment and sonder to kenopsia and monachopsis...

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The Independent Culture

Thanks to  Peter da Silva and someone called Disappointed Optimist,  I discovered a fine website called  The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which is where many of these came from…

1. Énouement

The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.

2. The long dark tea-time of the soul

How Douglas Adams described the failure to think of anything to do on a Sunday afternoon; the wretched boredom of the immortal Wowbagger. Thanks to Ed Rogers.

3. Anticipointment

The sinking feeling when anticipation fails to be the greater part of pleasure. Nominated by  Joe Ainsworth.

4. Ellipsism

The sadness  that you’ll never know how history turns out.

5. Sonder

The realisation that each passer-by has  a life as vivid and complex as your own.

6. Ely

A sense that something, somewhere has gone terribly wrong. Via Davey Barton from The Meaning of Liff.

7. Mauerbauer- traurigkeit

The inexplicable  urge to push people away, even close friends you like.

8. Zenosyne

The sense that time keeps going faster.

9. Kenopsia

The forlorn atmosphere of  a place that is  usually bustling  with people but is now abandoned.

10. Monachopsis

The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

Next week: Mondegreens (from Lady Mondegreen,  a mishearing of  ‘and  laid him on the green’:  new ones, please) 

Coming soon: The ‘true’ meanings of medicines (such as Atorvastatin: the secret police of a former Soviet central Asian republic). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to